Send Letter to Coast Guard Commandant Endorsing Consolidation of Coast Guard Land and Facilities at Sector Buffalo to Open 20 Acres of Land for Public Use
Buffalo, NY—Today Rear Admiral John E. Crowley, the new commander of the 9th Coast Guard District is visiting Buffalo. In light of his visit, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) are calling for the consolidation of Coast Guard land and facilities at Sector Buffalo, opening 20 acres of land around and access to the historic Buffalo Lighthouse for public use.
In a letter to Admiral Thomas H. Collins, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, Senator Clinton and Congressman Higgins wrote that Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, as currently situated, prevents public access to a significant part of the City’s waterfront, including the Buffalo Lighthouse. They urged the Coast Guard to contribute to the momentum and economic development underway in Buffalo, and to consider the proposal discussed in March 2006 between Congressman Higgins and Rear Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District, on Sector Buffalo land consolidation.
“The consolidation of these facilities could help the City of Buffalo realize the full potential of its Outer Harbor without compromising the essential security and safety role played by the Coast Guard. This is a proposal that Congressman Higgins and the people of Buffalo have been talking about for some time. I hope that Rear Admiral Crowley, while he is in Buffalo, has an opportunity to see the proposal for himself and to help us make this idea a reality,” Senator Clinton said.
“Senator Clinton understands the importance of green space and public access along our city’s waterfront, and I am pleased to team up with her in this important initiative,” said Congressman Higgins. “These 20 acres would add to the momentum we’re seeing at the Outer Harbor, with full access to our historic Lighthouse without sacrificing any of the homeland security, search and rescue, navigational and other services the Coast Guard provides to Buffalo and other Lake Erie communities. The Lighthouse, the oldest public building in Buffalo, is a symbol of the waterfront’s significance in our past and will be a symbol again for our future as we focus on bringing downtown back to the waterfront.”
Currently the Coast Guard occupies 30 acres surrounding the Buffalo Lighthouse and limits access to parts of the Outer Harbor. The specific proposal Higgins and Admiral Papp discussed in March encourages the Coast Guard to consider consolidating its operations to ten acres, leaving 20 acres of waterfront property, including the historic lighthouse, for public access.
Coast Guard Sector Buffalo is located at the head of the Niagara River and the eastern end of Lake Erie. Sector Buffalo provides search and rescue, law enforcement, aids-to-navigation, recreational boating safety, marine environmental response, and ice operations services to the public. Its area of responsibility includes Lake Erie from Lorain, Ohio, to Buffalo, New York, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, the Erie Canal, and the St. Lawrence Seaway to Massena, New York.
A copy of this letter is attached.
May 10, 2006
Admiral Thomas H. Collins
Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard
Coast Guard Headquarters
2100 Second Street, SW
Washington, DC 20593
Dear Admiral Collins:
In light of Rear Admiral Crowley’s visit to Buffalo today, we are writing to endorse the consolidation of Coast Guard land and facilities at Sector Buffalo.
Coast Guard Sector Buffalo currently occupies 30 acres on the Outer Harbor in the City of Buffalo. As it is currently situated, the base prevents public access to a significant portion of the City’s waterfront, including one of our community’s most historic landmarks, the Buffalo Lighthouse. Consolidating Sector Buffalo could free up to 20 acres for public green space and trails along the water’s edge, and restore public access to the Lighthouse.
This proposal presents a timely opportunity for the Coast Guard to contribute to the new momentum and nascent economic development underway in Buffalo, development which is centered on our waterfront. Local officials have reached consensus on a development plan at the Inner Harbor, which will create jobs and attract investment downtown. Also, we have worked to secure funding for infrastructure to improve access to the Outer Harbor, which will attract hundreds of millions of dollars to develop our currently underutilized urban waterfront. We invite the Coast Guard to participate in this exciting development by freeing up Outer Harbor land at Sector Buffalo for public use without affecting Coast Guard security or service in the area.
The search and rescue, law enforcement, homeland security, aids-to-navigation, recreational boating safety, marine environmental response, and ice operations services provided by Sector Buffalo are invaluable to the public and deeply appreciated. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the consolidation of Sector Buffalo will not degrade its ability to perform these essential functions.
Economic development at the Outer Harbor is absolutely crucial to sustaining Buffalo’s new sense of confidence and attracting investment to our community. Thank you for your consideration of this important proposal, and for addressing how Sector Buffalo can play a part in Buffalo’s revitalization.
Hillary Rodham Clinton Brian Higgins
Senator Member of Congress
CC: Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Chief of Staff, United States Coast Guard
Rear Admiral John E. Crowley, Jr., Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District